About Miles & More World Elite Mastercard
If you love flying Lufthansa Airlines, a German carrier ranked by many experts as an above average carrier, then you’ve probably heard of the Barclaycard Miles & More World Elite Mastercard.
“Miles & More” is a reference to the Lufthansa frequent flyer program, just like United’s MileagePlus and Southwest’s Rapid Rewards frequent flyer programs are mentioned in the names of their credit cards.
Because the Miles & More is an airline rewards card, the rules for judging whether or not the card is right for you are pretty specific.
The two biggest questions you should be asking are: How do I get frequent flyer miles and how far can those miles get you?
There are dozens of frequent-flyer credit cards out there, but not all of them offer good value, which is why we think those two questions are critical to finding the right card.
Over the next few minutes, we’re going to combine our research of the Barclaycard Miles & More as well as our knowledge of airline rewards cards to the following super helpful sections:
- The value of Miles & More miles
- Rates and fees
- Consumer and expert opinion
By the end of this review, you’ll have all the information you need to make a smart choice about this card’s place in your wallet.
The Barclaycard Miles & More World Elite MasterCard’s Rewards
As we mentioned earlier, much of what makes an airline rewards card valuable is how many points/miles you can earn and how far those points/miles will get you.
In this section, we’re going to take a look at all the rewards you can earn on this card, including what you get in the first year and what you’ll receive every year after that.
50,000-mile Sign-Up Bonus
When you apply for your Miles & More MasterCard, you’ll set up a Lufthansa Miles & More account if you don’t already have one. This is important to know since that account will be the recipient of all the miles you earn.
Barclays’ 50K-mile bonus takes place in two tiers. You’ll get the first 20,000 miles when you make your first purchase.
You’ll then earn the remaining 30,000 miles if you can spend $5,000 within 90 days of being approved for the card. It’s important to remember that the 90 days starts when you’re approved, not when you get the card in the mail.
There are a few things to remember here. First, you have to pay your annual fee of $89 in order to get your 30K bonus.
Second, the two bonuses will be added to your account “at the close of your first billing statement,” after you’ve made the qualifying purchase and/or paid your annual fee.
Also, keep in mind that a balance transfer counts as a first transaction, which means you could actually unlock the 20,000 miles without buying anything.
Normally, we wouldn’t recommend transferring a balance to an airline rewards credit card because they’re notorious for not offering no-interest promotions. The Barclaycard Miles & More card, however, has a no-interest promo (more on that in a few seconds).
2x and 1x Miles on Purchases
The Barclaycard Miles & More follows the standard rewards rate that most airline rewards cards offer: 2x miles on ticket purchases from Lufthansa and partners, and 1x on everything else.
The points you earn on your purchases will show up in your Miles & More account no later than four weeks after you make the purchases, the card’s fine print says.
As for the “and partners” part of the 2x bonus, you’ll be at a disadvantage if you plan on flying exclusively in the U.S. because those bonus partners are mainly European carriers:
- Adria Airways
- Austrian Airlines Group
- Brussels Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
We read further into the terms and conditions and found that you could lose your account – and any miles you haven’t redeemed – if you use your card for business purposes. Here’s a direct quote from the fine print:
“You must be an individual (corporations, partnerships, and other entities may not participate) and use the Account only for personal, family or household expenses.”
Other scenarios that will trigger account closure and the loss of unredeemed miles includes not using the card for six months, not paying your annual fee and being late more than 60 days on a payment.
0% Interest on Balance Transfers for 15 Months
The first two rewards that you get with this card are relatively standard – airline cards usually offer an up-front bonus of between 40,000 and 60,000 miles. The 2x/1x rewards rates are commonplace, too.
What sets this card apart from competitors like the United MileagePlus Explorer and the Gold Delta SkyMiles card is that you get a 0%-interest offer on balance transfers made within 45 days of being approved.
This reward is so rare among bigger airlines, which is why we’re surprised to see it on the Barclaycard Miles & More World Elite.
What makes the rewards even more valuable is that you can alleviate, at least for 15 months, the interest you’re paying on other credit cards.
For example, if you have a credit card with a $4,000 balance that will hover around $4,000 for the next 15 months and a 15.99% APR, then the Miles & More card’s intro offer could save you around $840 in interest.
You’ll be charged an industry-standard 3% fee to transfer that balance, but the $120 fee you pay far outweighs the $840 you’d fork over in interest with your other card.
How Far Can the Miles & More World Elite MasterCard’s Miles Get You?
This is perhaps the most important question in the airline rewards card conversation. The value of a card’s intro bonuses and rewards rates are only as valuable as the price of a rewards sea.
For example, Southwest rewards flights go for as cheap as 7,000 points, whereas the cheapest United seat is most likely going to cost you 12,500 points. Both cards offer a 40,000-point bonus. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier offers the better value.
Now, what about the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard? First, you need to know that the majority of Lufthansa and its partners’ routes are in Europe. There are flights that go between cities in the U.S., but most of those flights funnel through Chicago and New York.
The overseas destinations are plentiful, though, which is great if you’re looking to plan a trip to Europe and you want to pay for your flights with rewards miles.
How much do those European round-trips cost?
According to the Miles & More program’s Flight Award Adviser tool, flights that stay within North America cost 55,000 miles for business class seats.
You can book economy seats to Europe and South America for 60,000 points. A business-class round-trip flight to Hawaii would cost you 70,000 miles.
As you can see, the bonus miles you get will cover an economy class seat in North America, though Lufthansa’s site wasn’t clear on how many miles you’d have to spend on that seat.
The 60,000-point charge for an economy seat to Europe from North America is reasonable considering many United flights within the U.S. are 50,000 miles.
Based on our research, we believe that the Miles & More is best used for European flights, as you can find credit cards and frequent flyer programs who offer better rates for flights in North America.
The Barclaycard Miles & More World Elite Mastercard’s Benefits
We define benefits as those perks you get that are unrelated to interest rates or earning rewards, which is why we put bonus miles and the no-interest offer in the Rewards section.
In this section, we’re going to cover the yearly companion pass, the yearly lounge passes, and the World Elite MasterCard program’s benefits.
You’ll earn a free companion pass when you make your first purchase or transfer with your card and then every year after that on your cardmember anniversary.
“Companion pass” refers to a free ticket for someone traveling with you on your reservation.
The catch to this benefit is that you can’t use a companion ticket along with a rewards booking; you have to pay full price for your ticket in order to add the companion pass.
Also, the flight has to be a Lufthansa flight and not one operated by a code share (a Lufthansa flight operated by another carrier…i.e. United) or a Miles & More partner.
In order to make the companion-pass reservation, you’ll have to call 1-866-461-5399.
Lufthansa will send a pair of business lounge passes to your Miles & More inbox whenever you make your first purchase or transfer, then every cardmember anniversary after that.
The fine print says it will take up to two weeks for the passes to show up in your account.
You can use the passes for yourself and/or a traveling companion as long as you can show a boarding pass for a flight on the same day you want to go to the business lounge.
These lounges are a great perk for travelers, as they often provide a quiet place to relax between flights as well as complimentary snacks and beverages. Lufthansa has business lounges in several American airports including New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Orlando.
World Elite Mastercard Benefits
When you use your Barclaycard Miles & More card to purchase travel or everyday stuff, you’re afforded a series of insurance-style benefits you can utilize.
Some of those benefits include rental car insurance, reimbursement for delayed baggage, payouts for injuries or accidents that occur while traveling and a litany of travel-related discounts.
The World Elite benefits page is the best place to learn about the full extent of these benefits. You can also learn about them by reading the benefits guide you get when Barclaycard sends you your Miles & More card.
The Barclaycard Miles & More World Elite Mastercard’s Rates and Fees
Here’s a quick overview of the Miles & Mores rates and fees:
- Purchase and balance transfer APR: 16.99-25.99%
- Cash advance APR: 26.24%
- Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Annual fee: $89
- Late/returned payment fee: Up to $37
The Barclaycard Miles & More’s APRs are similar to what you’ll find with Chase’s travel cards, whose low-end APRs start at 16.99%, too.
Expert and Consumer Opinions of the Miles & More World Elite MasterCard
In general, the experts have positive things to say about the Miles & More card, note that the bonus points can pay for a decent chunk of a business-class seat to Europe.
Consumer reviews of the card were rare. However, J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 study on credit-card customer satisfaction notes that Barclaycard is rated third-highest among major credit card issuers.
Pros of the Miles & More World Elite MasterCard
Based on our research, we believe the Miles & More card’s strength is its benefits. The yearly companion pass and lounge passes set this card apart from the competition.
Cons of the Miles & More World Elite MasterCard
We see the biggest downside to this card being the lack of flights in the U.S., but that’s not a big deal if you often fly to Europe. Even then, though, the intro bonus won’t give you enough points to book a free round-trip flight.
Who Is This Card Good For?
In our opinion, redemption value for points and the intro bonus make this card a good fit for a Lufthansa loyalist who not only wants free bonus points but also wants lounge passes and the opportunity to have a friend fly free on a paid flight.
If the Barclaycard Miles & More doesn’t get you excited, that’s okay. The card, in our opinion, isn’t a good fit if you travel in the U.S., if only because other airlines offer far more affordable round-trip flights.
We encourage you to read through our Best Airline Rewards Credit Card of 2017 article. The research and number-crunching we did will help you understand which airline rewards card is the best fit for your traveling habits and preferences.